Wed | Dec 6, 2023

Poll: Few voters like party leaders

Published:Wednesday | October 4, 2023 | 12:09 AM

The leaders of Jamaica’s two main political parties have failed to charm the nation, with more eligible voters feeling strongly that they are ‘unlikeable’ than those that were firm in their belief that they are ‘likeable’. At the same time, in an...

The leaders of Jamaica’s two main political parties have failed to charm the nation, with more eligible voters feeling strongly that they are ‘unlikeable’ than those that were firm in their belief that they are ‘likeable’.

At the same time, in an RJRGLEANER Communications Group-commissioned Don Anderson poll, the largest blocks of those interviewed found themselves somewhere in the middle when asked how likeable they found each of the two leaders.

Just 9.8 per cent of the electorate found Prime Minister Andrew Holness, the leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), to be ‘very likeable’.

On the other side, only 4.6 per cent of eligible voters found Opposition Leader and President of the People’s National Party (PNP) Mark Golding to be ‘very likeable’.

Anderson told The Gleaner that likeability does not always translate to electability, noting that “I could like you very much but don’t think that you would be a very good person to run the country”.

He noted that likeability is not to be compared with favourability ratings as measured in previous polls.

Anderson’s findings indicated that some 9.1 per cent of eligible voters surveyed considered Golding to be ‘not at all likeable’ while 12.0 per cent of the electorate found Holness to be ‘not at all likeable’.

On a scale of 1-10, with ‘not at all likeable’ at 1 and ‘very likeable’ at 10, Holness saw a high of 18.5 per cent of those interviewed landing at the midway point of 5. Golding saw a high of 24.7 per cent, also at the midway point of 5.

Anderson tested the pulse of the Jamaican electorate between August 30 and September 14. A total of 1,010 Jamaicans of voting age participated in the survey, which has a sampling error of plus or minus three per cent at the 95 per cent confidence level.

Respondents from all parishes were interviewed with approximately 25 per cent being randomly called back as part of fieldwork validation.

Political commentator Shalman Scott says the results from the Anderson poll are symptomatic of the general level of apathy among Jamaicans towards not only the political parties but their leadership.

He argued that a considerable size of the electorate continues to be disenchanted by the political process in Jamaica.

“One is not to disconnect the Anderson finding from what the reality of what the last general election showed and the total voter turnout which was less than 40 per cent,” Scott noted.

“What Anderson is picking up is consistent with an attitude that clearly is crystallising and consolidating in the country and both political leaders ought to take note of the trend,” he added.

He noted that several issues were driving the level of disenchantment among Jamaicans as they continue to grapple with the prevailing economic challenges and the serious problem of crime and violence plaguing the country.

editorial@gleanerjm.com